The Role of Self-objectification in Women’s Depression: A Test of Objectification Theory
- 2.2k Downloads
Objectification Theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21:173–206, 1997) postulates that sexual objectification of women and girls in US culture contributes to women’s mental health problems indirectly through women’s internalization of objectifying experiences or self-objectification. The purpose of this study was to test the model proposed in Objectification Theory as it applies to depression in women. A path analysis revealed that self-objectification decreased with age and led to habitual body monitoring, which led to a reduced sense of flow, greater body shame, and greater appearance anxiety. Less flow, greater body shame, and greater appearance anxiety led to depression. No significant pathways were found for the theorized relationships between the self-objectification measures and internal awareness or between internal awareness and depression. In addition, we provide psychometric support for a newly created multiple-item Flow Scale to assess Csikszentmihalyi’s (Flow: The psychology of optimal experience, Harper, New York, 1990) description of the common characteristics of peak motivational states and optimal experience.
KeywordsFlow states Peak motivational states Body shame
We thank Kathy Kufskie for her assistance with data collection.
- Brown, L. S. (1994). Subversive dialogues. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
- Dion, K. L., Dion, K. K., & Keelan, J. P. (1990). Appearance anxiety as a dimension of social-evaluative anxiety: Exploring the ugly duckling syndrome. Contemporary Social Psychology, 14, 220–225.Google Scholar
- Enns, C. Z. (2004). Feminist theories and feminist psychotherapies: Origins, themes, and diversity (2nd ed.). New York: Haworth.Google Scholar
- Heppner, P. P., Kivlighan, D. M., & Wampold, B. E.(1999). Research design in counseling (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
- Morry, M. M., & Staska, S. L. (2001). Magazine exposure: Internalization, self-objectification, eating attitudes, and body satisfaction in male and female university students. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 33, 269–279.Google Scholar
- Noll, S. M. (1996). The relationship between sexual objectification and disordered eating: Correlational and experimental tests of body shame as a mediator. Doctoral dissertation, Duke University, Durham, NC.Google Scholar
- Pedhazur, E. J. (1997). Multiple regression in behavioral research (3rd ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
- Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using multivariate statistics (4th ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
- Worell, J., & Remer, P. (2003). Feminist perspectives in therapy: Empowering diverse women (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Zung, W. W. K. (1986). Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale and Depression Status Inventory. In N. Sartorius & T. A. Ban (Eds.), Assessment of depression (pp. 221–231). Berlin Heidelberg New York: Springer.Google Scholar